I have been reading books again. I just finished the newest Debbie Macomber books and I am waiting for the last Rose Harbor series book which comes out in August. It will be the last of that series. In my previous post I wrote about my time listening to Debbie’s talk at a local library in February. I also read the two latest books in Fern Michael’s Sisterhood series. This is one of the best series of books that I have ever read. I think there are about 25 books in this series now. I wrote about this series in a story about a year ago. If you want to read a series where the main characters are the same, but they get into different situations and do different vigilante rescues or creative ways they get even with those who did harm or wronged others this is a great series for you to read. Even men would enjoy this series. It has suspense, romance, comedy, mystery, and much more. As the series progresses it gets more involved. The link above is for the series characters, I didn’t know about this page or read it until after I finished about 20 of the books. I am glad I didn’t because I used my imagination of what the characters looked like. When I saw the pictures on the website, my idea of what the character looked like was different than what was shown. I did like seeing the author’s pictures of the characters, it made parts of the story fall into place a little better. But it is not necessary to check the webpage, reading the books is wonderful enough.
I woke up yesterday to a lot of noise outside, it seems the city is having several streets resurfaced and mine is one of them. There were men and machines that were taking up the old asphalt and laying new asphalt. It was really interesting to watch. When they used the rollers to compress the asphalt I could feel the building and floor vibrating. There was black dust all over all of our cars. Thankfully, this afternoon it rained pretty hard so it washed off some of the dust. I guess they will finish paving the street on Monday.
Besides reading, I have been doing some cooking and baking. I like to experiment when I cook so I put different ingredients into the crock pot or pan I was cooking in and these new recipes I created actually tasted pretty good. Of course, I didn’t write it down but I can probably come close to recreating it, or even trying something different next time. I cooked a turkey thigh and usually I put stuffing under the skin and put seasoning on the turkey and bake it. This time I put it in the crock pot with some onion, carrots, garlic, pineapple, peach jam, and a few spices. I even put peach jam and pineapple in the stuffing that I put in the oven. It was a totally different taste. I pureed the sauce when it cooled enough and I served it over the turkey, and I cooked noodles to serve with it. This dinner sort of tasted like a sweet and sour dish rather than a savory one. For dessert I mixed blueberries, pineapple, peach jam, and cranberries with flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon and poured it into a pie crust and folded part of the crust over the filling and baked it. I have made it before with blueberries, peaches, pears, and cranberries and it came out delicious. Adding the crushed pineapple gave it a slightly different flavor. I opened the can of crushed pineapple for the turkey so I had to think of things to make to use it up.
I have started doing jigsaw puzzles again. Last week the local library had their spring book sale so I went a few days before to help set up the books and puzzles. Someone donated about 200 jigsaw puzzles, the library never had that many. Usually, they have less than 20 puzzles. One of the other volunteers and I set up the puzzle table. We were able to get them all on two tables which was quite an accomplishment. When we were finished the other volunteers saw what we did and they told us we did a great job!!! Both of us bought quite a few puzzles. As we were taking them out of boxes and putting them on the table we pulled out ones we wanted. I bought quite a few to take to Texas for my friends when I leave on my trip in a few months. I’m not sure they will all fit in my camper, but I will take what I can. I bought 8 puzzles for myself, 5 of them are in the photo to the top of this paragraph. One of them is a map of the United States and each state is represented by a part of a state license plate. When I was in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta office last fall one of the staff members had a poster showing the states using license plates and I admired the poster. I was really surprised when I saw the puzzle which is exact same thing as the poster. It’s been fun, and challenging to work on it. I use either small paper bowls or empty fruit or applesauce plastic cups to sort puzzle pieces, it depends on the number of pieces for the section or color I am sorting. I wrote the method I use to work on puzzles in a post about a year or so ago. You can do a search on my website, if you are interested.
I have also completed two other puzzles. One was only 400 large size pieces. This is very different than other puzzles I do. Usually the puzzles I work on are 1,000 pieces and the pieces are small or regular size. So, to make this more challenging I looked at the picture and then began the puzzle. I sorted the pieces by color like I normally do and I completed the puzzle only looking at the picture about three times.
I also completed a special shaped puzzle of an old car, sort of like a Model T. Within the puzzle of the car were other old cars including an old convertible with wood sides, there was a man sitting on a bridge fishing in a stream, and a dog and woman nearby. In the window of the car were other cars, a house, flower bed, and people having a picnic on a blanket. It was also a fun and challenging puzzle. Being a special shape puzzle, finding the edge pieces is not always easy since they are not usually straight edges. Also, being a used puzzle I never know if all of the pieces are in the box. When I finish a puzzle I always put a note that all of the pieces are included. The few times that a piece was missing, I made one and put it in the box in a baggie with a note that this is replacing a missing piece and where in the puzzle it fits. Thankfully, the few times I had to recreate a missing piece it was not too difficult to color. There was one piece missing in this puzzle and I called the library to see if it was in the baggie they have of missing puzzle pieces… unfortunately the piece I needed was not one they had in the baggie. You have to look at the puzzle closely to even notice that a piece was missing that I recreated.
So, I put a piece of thin cardboard under the puzzle and traced the shape of the missing piece and cut it out. I got out my crayons, markers, and colored pencils and couldn’t get close enough to the green that I needed. So I went through flyers and magazines I had handy. It turns out that the current sales flyer from the local grocery store had a header of almost the exact shade of green that I needed for the missing piece which happened to be in a patch of grass. I traced the shape of the missing piece, cut it out, and glued it to the cardboard puzzle piece I made. Then I fitted it into the puzzle and shaded the piece with black pencil to match what I think the piece looked like. What are the odds that the sales flyer had the color I needed. When I got the new flyer today it was a different shade of green that wasn’t even close to what I needed. A coincidence??? I think not.
Last year I bought a Nuwave Induction Portable Cooktop not only to use at home, but also to take on my trips since it is small enough to take and it cooks quickly. The only thing is that special pots are needed. Aluminum pots will not work. They have to be cast iron, stainless steel, or any other material that magnets will stick to. I only had a couple of pots that would work so I went and bought a few others in different sizes. Of course, these pots were a bit more costly because they are a better quality to work on an induction cooktop. I bought a three quart pot which has holes on one side of the lid which is working great to cook pasta, potatoes, or even meat. I can drain the water or fat out of the pan without trying to hold the lid offset from the pot and having some stuff fall out, and I don’t need to use a colander. I’m really enjoying using this pot and I will definitely take it on my trip.
When I couldn’t sleep the other night I was channel surfing and I stopped on a shopping network because they had kitchen items and were doing cooking demonstrations using some of the pots and pans. There was a shallow 12″ skillet with a special no stick surface which would work on the induction cooktop. After a while, I went online and read the reviews and there was not one bad review for this skillet. So I decided to order it and it came today. I think it is going to work really good, and it also can go in the oven. It came with a glass lid which will come in handy. I also bought a 2 quart crock pot. I have taken my 4 quart crock pot on my trips and it takes up a bit of precious space and I haven’t used it.
My thoughts are that if I take a 2 quart crock pot it will take up less space and I might really use it, that is when I am staying somewhere for more than a day or two. Probably when I am in Albuquerque for 6 weeks. When I am away for my four or five month trips I frequently either buy a meal somewhere and eat it for a day or so, or else I eat sandwiches. This way maybe I will actually cook a meal and while I am working at the Balloon Fiesta office my dinner and leftovers can be cooking. When I am on my trips it seems that I lose about 10 pounds because I am not eating as well as when I am home, and I don’t snack as much. I rarely cook when I’m traveling, and I seem to walk more. Maybe this coming fall on my trip I will do it differently since I have better cooking items that I am taking. I’m planning on being in Albuquerque from the end of August until mid-October so I will be stationary for a while once again and I will be volunteering again so I should have electric hookups. Hopefully, the weather will be rather mild like last year and not really cold like the other years that I was there.
This story is becoming longer than I thought it would be. I bought a Lily of the Valley plant. It was in a plastic bag and only had roots, dirt, and a small shoot coming up from the bulb and roots. I didn’t have any flower pots or potting soil and I didn’t want to drive to the store so I looked around and found an empty juice container that I just finished and had not thrown out yet. So I cut off a portion of the container, poked holes in the bottom, and went down to the flower bed outside and got some small rocks for the bottom and took some dirt and planted my plant. I put it on the window sill and it’s growing. It has a few green shoots and it might actually bloom. It seems to be growing rather quickly, it went from planted to having green shoots within a week. When I was a child we had Lilies of the Valley growing in our flower beds and when I got a little older I bought perfume that smelled like that. When I saw this bulb at the store I knew I needed to buy it.
I have been using these amazing hair clips, called Kudu Klips for about 8 years and I absolutely love them. They are handmade and work great, are durable and easy to use, and don’t damage hair like other types of hair items do. They also stay firmly in place all day long and are comfortable to wear. For those of us with hair that we put up or in ponytails, this is a great item. It even holds hair that is not very long and/or very fine. Several times I have contacted Patti that owns the company and I have bought more from her for either myself or as gifts. I got an email the other day that she was going to be at a craft show about half hour from where I live. Usually she lives on the other side of the state. I got up this morning and drove to the craft show and found Patti’s booth. As we talked we realized that when I bought my first Kudu Klip it was at her first show where she sold them which was 8 years ago. When I order by phone I call Patti and discuss which ones are available and what I want. She doesn’t put pictures of all of her designs on her website anymore because even though she and her husband designed and created these hair items, another company copied their product and they were also copying her designs.
Here is a picture of the Kudu Klips that I have in my collection. There are so many beautiful designs and I knew I wanted to buy a few more but narrowing it down to which ones was not easy. While I was there the booth got busy with customers so I helped Patti and waited on customers and showed them how to use these amazing hair clips. There are also videos on their website so when I sold a hair clip I gave the lady a business card and told her to go online to watch the videos for other ideas on how to use them. It was really fun working in the booth and helping Patti. There were about six other customers like me that came to buy more. These things are addictive… and because there are many different designs it’s hard to narrow down the selection. I only planned on buying two new ones and I ended up with six new ones. Now I have nine of them.
I went back on Sunday and helped Patti in her booth for four hours again. I really enjoyed helping, even though we had some heavy rain and high winds for a little while. Unexpectedly, Patti said she wanted to give me a Kudu Klip for helping in her booth, I told her it wasn’t necessary but she wanted to gift it to me. It was very kind and time passed quickly since we were really busy. As I got to my car raindrops began to fall and it rained pretty hard part of the way home. I’m glad it rained, it washed the black dust off of my car from when they resurfaced the road Friday, and when I got home the skillet I ordered last week was waiting by my door.
Wow… this story seems to really be growing beyond what I thought it would be when I started writing this evening. I haven’t written a story in about a month mostly because there wasn’t much to write about until the past week or so. This afternoon when I left the craft fair my pain level was getting pretty intense that’s why I left so I could come home and take my pain medicine. I was really getting sleepy driving but I made it home safely, took my medicine and thought I would take a nap. But, I opened the box with my new skillet, made something to eat since it was about 3:00 p.m. and then I sorted through my beads, and then decided to start this story since I knew I would most probably not get another chance to write for about three weeks. Here it is about three hours later, I can’t believe I have been writing this post for so long or longer.
When I write, time seems to go quickly and I don’t even realize it. Words just seem to flow most of the time. I have a feeling that I have a ghost writer/spirit that helps me to write. Until I started writing this blog in 2011, the only writing I did was letters and other documents for work. Most of my posts take me between three and five hours to write. I still have about another hour to finish this post because I want to insert pictures, which I do after the entire story is written. Over the past six years my writing style has evolved, as has my knowledge of how to add pictures and links. In my early stories I had no idea how to add pictures, or add a link, I used to ask my friend Pam that created my website to add a link or picture every now and then since I didn’t want to bother her too often. After a while she instructed me on how to do it, I think that’s when my stories began to change how they were written and more links and pictures were added.
I plan on leaving this coming Wednesday for a short camping trip. I will probably be gone for about two weeks. There is an Indian pow wow about two hours north of where I live that I go to every year. It’s also a chance to see my friends that are vendors and travel the pow wow circuit and are in south Florida this time of the year. Then I will most probably go once again to see my friend Sue Arnold at Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and spend a few days there. Sue told me she has several new animals since I was there last year. There are about five stories and photo albums from my previous trips. You can use the search feature on my website to find them. Last time I went one of the new animals was Lulu a three year old camel, an albino Wallaby, and a two day old ring tail lemur. If you are looking for a worthwhile organization to donate funds to, I would highly recommend this one. 100% of the funds donated are used for the care and feeding of the animals. It costs a lot of money to feed all of the animals, including the panthers, bobcats, servil’s, caracal’s, camel and so many more.
I went to the camper to get info for a lock that needs to be replaced, I ordered replacement locks for the storage compartment. It’s due to arrive on Tuesday and I hope to have a locksmith change them before I leave, if not, one of my friends at the pow wow said he will try to replace it for me.
In case you are not aware of it, if you are are over 55 years of age, you can take an AARP driver safety course and receive a discount on your car insurance. I usually go to a location and take the six hour course, this year however, I decided to take the online course which can be done at our leisure, and they give I think it’s two months to complete it. I did it in two days and they sent my certificate by email and I emailed it to my insurance company. You do not have to be an AARP member to take the course. I think it saves $5 if you are a member.
In 2009 before I left for a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, I bought a new camera, it is a Canon PowerShot A 720 IS. It’s served me extremely well. It’s small, has a viewfinder, and is easy to use. The past year or two I have noticed that it seems to go through batteries faster and every now and then when I press the button it doesn’t take a picture. I think I have worn out the camera. I don’t really want to part with it since I’m familiar with it, it’s a handy size and it takes great pictures. The main feature I like is a viewfinder so when the sun shines on the digital screen I can use the viewfinder and see what I am looking for or at. This camera is no longer made, so I looked online and found a few used ones for sale on Ebay. One of them looks like it would be a good deal and in working condition so I called a friend of mine who uses Ebay frequently and he said he would bid on the item for me. So far, no one has bid, Milan is waiting until tomorrow just before it closes to submit a bid on my behalf. Hopefully, no one else will bid on it. I know technology has changed. Milan said I should buy a new camera rather than a used one. I said that I really like that camera and want it because I’m familiar with it. I did research for hours the other day and I cannot find another small camera with a viewfinder. Only a few larger cameras have one. So, I found a different model Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS that has good features including a higher number zoom than my camera, so I bought it. I won’t get it before I leave Wednesday so it will be waiting for me when I get back home. It’s a lot smaller than my other camera even though the zoom is more powerful. It has a rechargeable battery rather than using two AA batteries like the camera I have now. The new camera has an extra battery and if I find I need more I will buy another rechargeable one. When I am at the Balloon Fiesta I can easily take several hundred photos in a day and I can use about 8 to 10 AA batteries with my current camera. I will have to see how many pictures I can get off of one battery charge with the new camera. I tried to look on my computer to see how many pictures I have in my Pictures folder. The best I can tell it’s about 41,000 since 2011 and including the 700 I took at Glacier National Park in 2009. I will be able to test it out at the Relay For Life event in mid-April. I need to learn how to use it before I leave on my trip in June or July.
My Canon Powershot A 720 IS did an amazing job and it deserves a rest every now and then. I hope the one I got from Ebay is in excellent working condition. It will be nice to have a backup camera and I look forward, sort of, to learning the new smaller camera and it’s features. I didn’t even use all of the features on my current camera. I generally just use the point and shoot automatic feature. Sunday night Milan called and told me that about 10 seconds before the bidding closed he submitted a higher bid and won the camera for me. I should be receiving it soon, but not before I leave on this short trip.
Guess that’s more than enough for now. I just realized it’s 10:00 p.m. and I have been working on this story for about five hours. The next post will most probably be in about three or so weeks. I will keep Travel Map 2016 tab updated as I travel.